Some people walk the world with a definite F*ck You attitude. Others may not be quite that direct about it, but they really just don’t care what others think. Blessed are these people.
Of course, it ought to be noted that people who say they don’t care what others think very often care when that gets turned around on them, and they get a bit testy when people choose not to listen to their considered opinion. But maybe we’re all that way to one degree or another. It’s up there with the–what I find rewarding is truly meaningful and what you find rewarding is delusion.
Anyway, I survived childhood through the approval of the adults. Plenty of teenagers rebelled, and I just thought–they are hurting themselves more than their parents. And that is not going to be me.
But sometimes this approval thing has got to go. I’m the grown up now and why should I care if someone, anyone, pats me on the head and says I’m doing the right thing? I don’t know why, but I do. Habits must die holding us tight by the throat.
We live in this world of voting people away we don’t like, of ranking what we approve, of reviewing what others ought to like or dislike. I got into a disagreement with a coworker once about a list of top ten favorite bands. Everyone at work was supposed to make their own list and pin them to the bulletin board. I refused to participate. You music people, I said, will just judge me based on my list. You like that? You think this is good? Like I need anyone to know what I think about The Beatles or Prince. But us book people are as bad. You read that?
How can I break my approval habit with all this around? How can I rewrite my novel wondering if I’ll still be liked when I’m done?
Of course, considering that most of my friends aren’t reading my novel, maybe the real question is–would I rather be disapproved of or ignored?